Thursday, April 27, 2006

Affordable Bicycle Trips

Those of you that know me - know I love to travel but the budget doesn't allow extravagant trips. I have a few tour companies to suggest to you that fit my budget and that I've had great fun with. I got email today from Peter & Anna who run Gabriola Cycle and Kayak. I did a bicycle trip with this company about 6 years ago which started and finished in Phoenix Arizona we stayed at Super 8 Hotels and rode about 60 miles a day so lots of time for sight seeing yet still some challenging miles. I also met some really great folks on the trip that I'm still in contact with.

For bicycle touring in Europe the company I would recommend is called Wide Open Roads. I did an amazing trip with them that went from Bordeaux to Alpe'd huez. Susie and Andy only do this for a few months of the year and the rest of the year they live in Australia. I also hope to travel with them again soon.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Grin and Bike It

This month I'm captaining a commute team for the Group Health Commute Challenge. It's a big company but I only know a few people who also bike commute. But now I feel like that old shampoo commercial. I'll tell 2 people and they will tell 2 people and so on and so on and so. So now I have a team of 4 folks including me and it may grow to a few more folks. This is good inspiration to get me on my bike every day instead of the bus - never my car I can't afford the parking and the angst of traffic. Also base miles build endurance like nothing else. Information on the Group Health Commute Challenge can be found at Cascade Bicycle Club.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

3 Capes 300k Brevet

I'd never ridden the Oregon Coast before and now I can appreciate why it is one of the most popular routes in the United States. The views are incredible of the big beaches, the Pacific Ocean, Haystock Rocks and just incredible vistas. We started the day at 6:00 am at McMenimans Grand Lodge in Forrest Grove Oregon. I believe about 50 riders showed up for the ride including my usual posse of club riders.

Of course the ride started at a blistering pace and its always fun to see all the red blinkies on the riders as they trail off into the distance. I quickly was left behind as my computer popped off (I need to replace the computer mount the tab is missing) at some rough railroad tracks. After retrieving my computer I set off to catch the peleton - luckily my friend Michael yelled at me and I looked at my cue sheet to find out I had almost missed a turn. Just a bit later the zippy riders passed me as they had missed the turn. If you knew the area this turn could have been avoided and you would have been back enroute with no problems of couse this was where the Secret Control was so I'm very glad I made the turn. From there we climbed for awhile over the Pacific Ridges and then a big descent which seemed to take forever due to headwinds coming up from the coast.

After the Descent the route took us to Tillamook home of the factory where the best cheese and ice cream come from - alas it was too far off route for the non speedy riders like me to stop at but I want to come back another time. Around Tillamook were lots of dairy fams - with Jersey cattle. The Jersey cattle are a fawn color and they had udders the size of the whole wide world.

After Tillamook we headed out to Cape Mears on the scenic Coastal Bicycle Route- what great views but of course. Alas what goes down must come up if you look at the ride profile we had a sharp climb out of Cape Mears.

Lunch awaited us at Netarts - Susan France the RBA had set up a nice spread. We found out that our friends Ralph and Carol had an accident on their tandem and had been taken off to the hospital. Ralph has a seperated shoulder and Carol got quite a bang on her noggin. They are going to be AOK but alas are off the bike for awhile and the bike looks like it needs some TLC also - both sets of handlebars are all busted up. Lunch also brought a quick kiss from Hubby who was also riding his own ride we don't tend to ride together much on these rides due to our different paces.

After lunch and regrouping with my possee we headed to Cape Look Out - Look Out - look at those views - haystack rocks, hang gliders and beautiful beaches. Then a weird place called Sand Lake home of Dune Buggies and many ATV's. Not my kinda of riding but they sure were having fun.

The third cape was Cape Kiwanda - then Pacific City which has a really great pub The Pelican Pub (another place to visit another day). We settled for Coffee and a muffin and watching the ocean for a few minutes. Time to leave the beach and head inland.

We went up and over Sourgrass Summit which was not much compared to what we had already climbed today. My group was going to stop at DQ for another break but I dropped off the back and was starving again much sooner so I made a quick break at the Taco Time for a veggie mexie burrito and a refill of the camelbak. When I passed the DQ I did see several bicycles there but they did not belong to my crew.

I rode to Amity Oregon and got my card signed at the next control. Since dark was falling I grouped up with Tom, Scott, Bill and Ray to finish the ride. At some point Scott, Bill and Ray got ahead of us so Tom and I finished together. Hubby finished just a little later - safe and sound.

All and All it was a great day - would I do this route again - You Bettcha. Would I recommend this route to the casual cyclist - yes it would make a great 2 day ride with a possible overnight in Pacific City so you could have dinner at the Pelican Pub.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Girls - Horses - Bicycles

The Zippy (Race Across America Riders - Michelle Grainger and Cat Berge) told us that due to having less time on the road they have more time to do goofy stuff off the bike.

I sometimes wonder if some women cyclists have moved from horses to bicycles. When I sold my horse when I was in college I was already an avid cyclist having done a tour when I was only 13. At the time I entered cycling - I liked how much cheaper it was then riding. You don't have to shoe or feed a bicycle. But now I'm finding it's probably not that much cheaper. It's fun to buy your bike a buddy - the zippy bike - the singlespeed bike and bike clothes are not cheap. Best of all its fun to travel and meet other cyclists like these goofy girls.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

PAC Tour Desert Camp 2006 - Tucson

Tonight I head home but have the day to play in Tucson. Julie and I rode down to check out the University of Arizona in downtown Tucson. Also went to the shops on 4th Avenue - we found a really cool shop called Native Seeds. Native Seeds carries all sorts of Southwest products, handmade bowls, utensils and of course beans and spices. It was nice to find out that they have an internet presence also so we can buy more bean soup if we get addicted to it. The workers in the shop were both from the Seattle area and told us they get a bit tired of the dusty weather and their noses always dripping. Julie and I also loved the Adobe Houses located near the University. I had scheduled late check out with the plan to just hang out until my flight this evening so we bicycled back to the hotel to check me out. The clerk at the hotel was SUPER nice and just said keep the room until I left. I packed up the bike, took a swim, finished packing up my purchases, got a subway sandwich across the street and took the shuttle to the Airport. At the Airport I ordered myself a big beer, ate my sandwich (too messy for the plane) and waited for my flight.
When I arrived in Seattle - I had to wait quite a while for the bike because it seemed like all of Seattle had been out of town golfing. I have never seem so many golf clubs in one place.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

PAC Tour Desert Camp 2006 - Sierra Vista to Tucson

Last day of camp we rolled early but I didn't get too far before I spotted a fellow desert camp rider with a flat tire. I stopped to help her change it (actually just loaned her my non wussy pump - a Zefal frame pump). Not too far down the road we came across the PAC van picking up a rider that had a blow out, I took a sag to the first rest stop because my legs were fried from riding every day for a week.

To the tune of Rock Lobster - Down Down Down . . . . No wonder I was so wiped out the first day. In returning to Tucson after we got up the hill it was all downhill from there.

Friday, April 07, 2006

PAC Tour Desert Camp 2006 - Bisbee Ride

I love this town!!!
Coffee and Shopping to be done.
Ride up Mule Pass for grilled cheese sandwiches, then a great descent and a tail wind most of the way back to Sierra Vista.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

PAC Tour Desert Camp 2006 - 200K Brevet Day

Early day today to get in the miles and beat the heat.
We headed out with ride leader Jim Hvalka to get us through the Fort which has some tricky turns (which Barb and I found out about). Everyone was being way too zippy for it being early in the morning. We stopped at the Fort to show ID (oops where is mine - I thought I had it - got let in not turned back) This place is a big Army Fort and is more like a small town then anything else. We had to stop to wait for PT to finish and the road to open we talked to a 19 year old soldier, she told us that the army believed cycling was not physical enough. She was just yanking our chains of course. Somehow I can't see the Army issuing every one army green Mtn. or road bikes - its much cheaper to issue them Army boots. The zippy group soon sped off after asking directions to the Black Tower. Hey Black Tower that way and I follow Barb down a rough road and steep descent. We get to the bottom and of course we have taken a wrong turn. We weren't supposed to go to the Black Tower just where the road splits off. We turned around and exited the Fort at the West Gate. We spotted a giant jack rabbit at the gate but couldn't get a picture he hopped off way too fast. So added an additonal 5 miles to our ride for the day. A stop at Sonita for some bottled Starbucks (no Doubleshots - bummer). Susan Notarangelo was in Sonita and reminded us that the Lunch Van closed at 2:00 pm we told her no worries and that we would take care of ourselves. Barb and I headed up the road to Patagonia. Patagonia is a very cute town we ran into the rest of the group (today's non brevet ride turned around at Patagonia) - Susan C.'s bike had a mechanical so she was sagging the rest of the day with Lon but she was very happy to have found espresso and also that the place was liberal lots of anti-Bush cartoons. I told Barb that we should stop at the Deli/Espresso stand on the way back. Jim H. was already on his way back and warned us about construction on the way to the Airport. The guy directing traffic at the road closure offered to sign our brevet cards but we said no and headed on. Hey thats a dumb thought but aren't we almost in Mexico? We got our cards signed at the Nogales International Airport and headed back. Back through the construction and we flushed a Red Tail Hawk with a snake in its talons. Luckily Mr. Hawk did not drop his lunch on us. Shortly after the hawk incident - we spotted one of the PAC Tour vans - it was our secret control. We took a short break and talked to Lon and Susan C. they had pulled over at a roadside area that featured a cool shrine that was dedicated to some folks that had a run in with the indians way back when - yes folks this is the wild west. Alas we are not making good time and need to make the next control so no lunch in Patagonia. We got our cards signed in Sonita and went down the street to the Fuel Stop for some fresh Deli Sandwiches. We took a long lunch and discussed if we should chance riding back through the fort since I don't have my ID with me. Barb said yes - we would be able to get though and sure enough she was right. I just kept looking through pockets and the guards got annoyed and let me through. Riding through the Fort was hilly but beautful. We got back to the hotel around 6:00 pm. We finished the Brevet and had a great day on the road. We could have made much better time but Barb had a flat and hey its vacation so need to take time to look at the Cactus and Cows.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

PAC Tour Desert Camp 2006 - Tombstone Ride

Where the West was Fun.
Fed Ex Truck on Main Street
First Gunfight at 11:30 am
Not the Pony Express - Pony Espresso
Rode with Susan Notarangelo

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

PAC Tour Desert Camp 2006 - Coronado Ride

This is my friend Melissa - a Rando Grrl from British Columbia. It was cool getting to know Melissa better - I had met her on-line on the long distance forum and then met her at the Canadian Fleche last year. I had posted to the forum that I was attending this week of desert camp and said Hey Melissa there is room for you too. Thoughts on meeting her - she is one tough rider, very steady and able to hold her own in geeky bicycle conversations. Melissa wasn't able to ride the brevet with me due to her being a Canadian and needing a Military Escort through the fort.

Monday, April 03, 2006

PAC Tour Desert Camp 2006 - Tucson to Sierra Vista

The tour leaders determined a different route for us to leave town due to it being Monday morning and lots of traffic on the roads.

Hey its Hot down here, and we are going to be riding about 5,000 feet above sea level all week. So will take a few days to get acclimatized.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

PAC Tour Desert Camp 2006

Yesterday I arrived in Tucson Arizona to attend the first ever week of PAC Tour Women's Training Camp. A group of us from Redmond Cycling Club traveled to Tucson together. We caught the shuttle to the hotel and chatted with a few of the folks that had finished up Mountain Tour Week. I talked to Paul Fleming and found out that he had enjoyed his week of riding on his new Soma Smoothie ES. Paul said that the Steel Som had beat him up a bit compared to a titanium bicycle. Those roads in Arizona though are really rough with lots of chip seal and cracks from freezing.

Today we met the crew including Lon Haldeman and Susan Noterangelo and put together our bicycles. We also took a ride to the Sagurro National Park which is beautiful and did a 10 mile loop ride within the park. We talked to a few other folks that were out riding and were given a recomendation for lunch - just a convience store down the road but they had great granita's (icey coffee drinks) that hit the spot with riding in the heat.

We headed back to the hotel for a short presentation on camp and what was required of us and what they would provide. One of the things that was highly stressed was paceline safety - my friend Anne Marie later told me this is because they had accidents on almost all the previous weeks and had to have riders helicoptered out.

We walked down the street to Morgan's for a quick dinner and hit the sack early because we start riding at 7:00 am tomorrow.